The global economic crisis should not discourage South Africans from exploring their own country and taking advantage of the many events within our borders, the regional director for the African and domestic markets at South African Tourism, Phumi Dhlomo, said.
Dhlomo said the credit crunch had made international travel too expensive for South Africans, but there was still the option to travel within SA.
"We have so many exciting events in South Africa like the Confederations Cup, the J&B Met in Cape Town this week and the Cape Town International Jazz festival. People can still plan their holidays around these events."
The job of marketing South Africa to the rest of the continent, specifically East and West Africa, as well as to travellers within SA had become more challenging in the current economic climate, but SA Tourism was pushing ahead relentlessly, he said.
"I am passionate about South Africa and in my profession I get an opportunity to make a contribution to my country because tourism is a growing industry and contributes hugely towards improving people's lives," Dhlomo said.
Before joining SA Tourism in August last year, Dhlomo was the general manager for sales and marketing at the South African National Parks.
This is where his passion for tourism was stirred up.
Dhlomo started his career as a teacher in KwaZulu-Natal, but changed fields when he realised that marketing was in his blood.
He has worked in various marketing positions in the clothing, advertising and financial services industries.
He holds a post graduate Diploma in Marketing Management; a post graduate Diploma in Business Administration and an MBA from Milpark Business School.
"Extensive marketing experience and understanding tourism, tourism trade, advertising and media is crucial for this role," Dhlomo said.
"You also need to have deep knowledge of consumer behaviour to enable you to follow tourism trends and thus identify opportunities you can capitalise on in order to ensure that consumers are receptive when you communicate the South African brand message to them."